A recent investigation has uncovered additional proof of war atrocities in Ukraine.
The report released on Friday by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine follows a previous study published in March.
It records further untargeted uses of explosive weapons, leading to fatalities, injuries, and the destruction and harm of non-military objects.
In April, a multistorey residential building in Uman, a city in the Cherkasy region, was attacked, resulting in the death of 24 individuals, primarily women and children. The attack also rendered part of the building unlivable. During their recent trip to the country, commissioners had the opportunity to speak with residents affected by the incident.
Fresh evidence, identical pattern of torture
Their inquiries also validated previous discoveries that Russian officials employed torture extensively and systematically in various forms of detention centers.
Recent findings gathered in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia areas reveal that Russian officials employed a consistent method of torture in regions under their jurisdiction, primarily targeting men accused of sharing intelligence with Ukrainian authorities or aiding the Ukrainian military.
The commissioners stated that their discussions with victims and witnesses exposed a severe lack of respect for human dignity by the Russian government. Witnesses recounted incidents where torture was carried out with such extreme violence that the victim did not survive.
Lasting traumatic impacts
Newly conducted research in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions revealed that instances of rape and sexual violence frequently occurred alongside additional acts of violence such as severe physical assaults, strangulation, suffocation, slashing, shooting in close proximity to the victim’s head, and intentional homicide.
One woman, aged 75, stayed by herself to defend her belongings and was sexually assaulted and harmed by a Russian soldier. The soldier punched her repeatedly in the face, chest, and ribs, and also choked her while questioning her.
The soldier commanded the woman to remove her clothing, but when she refused, he forcibly tore them off. He then used a small, sharp object to cut her abdomen and proceeded to sexually assault her multiple times. As a result, the woman also sustained numerous broken ribs and teeth.
The report stated that the victims of such traumatic experiences suffer from serious and lasting effects on their physical and mental well-being.
Unlawful child deportations
The Commissioners looked into additional reports of Ukrainian minors being moved to Russia or regions in Ukraine under Russian occupation. They determined that the transfer of 31 children to Russia in May 2022 was an illegal deportation, constituting a war crime.
The report includes three instances where investigations found that Ukrainian officials violated human rights of individuals accused of aiding Russia.
They emphasized the significance of being accountable while also respecting and prioritizing the rights of the victims.
In March 2022, following the onset of the Russian invasion, the UN Human Rights Council created the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine. Its operation was prolonged for another year in April.
The three Commissioners are not employed by the United Nations and do not receive compensation for their duties.